My Ex-Husband Isn't Paying the Full Amount for Back Child Support in Illinois

By Heather Frances J.D.

If you have children in your custody, your divorce decree likely included a child support order whereby your ex-husband was required to pay a certain amount each month to support your children. However, it is not uncommon for someone who owes child support to pay less than the court required or to stop paying altogether. In such situations, legal remedies are available to enforce the terms of your divorce decree.

If you have children in your custody, your divorce decree likely included a child support order whereby your ex-husband was required to pay a certain amount each month to support your children. However, it is not uncommon for someone who owes child support to pay less than the court required or to stop paying altogether. In such situations, legal remedies are available to enforce the terms of your divorce decree.

Requirement to Pay

When a child support order is issued, whether as part of a divorce decree or in another court order, the paying parent is required to make the payments as ordered. Failing to make the payments is a violation of the court order and treated very seriously. In Illinois, 9 percent interest is added to any payment or portion of a payment that remains unpaid for at least 30 days. Since July 1, 1997, every Illinois child support order must include a provision to automatically withhold child support payments from the paying parent’s paycheck. This “income withholding” applies to both current and past-due support.

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State Enforcement

Sometimes, income withholding is not sufficient to ensure payment, such as when the custodial parent has waived income withholding or if the paying parent lost his job or is self-employed. If you are not receiving payments by income withholding, the Illinois Child Support Services Program is available to help you collect past due support and there is no fee for this state agency’s services. The state has a variety of options to collect support, including intercepting federal and state tax refunds or other payments, suspending or revoking the delinquent parent's Illinois driver’s license, professional license or occupational certificate, and pursuing federal or state criminal prosecution for nonpayment.

Court Enforcement

You also have the option to pursue enforcement through the courts without the help of a state agency. You can file a motion for enforcement with the court that issued the order and bring contempt charges against your ex-husband that can result in jail time and fines, depending on how much support is owed. The court can take the same measures as the state agency to obtain past due support plus the option of entering a judgment against your ex-husband for the arrearage. If your ex-husband owns any real estate in Illinois, this judgment attaches a lien to the property that can be enforced like a foreclosure. The judgment can also be enforced against other assets like bank accounts, automobiles, boats, or shares of stock.

Modifications

If there has been a change in circumstances since your child support order was issued, either parent can petition the court to change the order. For example, if your ex-husband changed jobs and his salary has decreased, he may wish to ask for a decrease in the amount of support he is ordered to pay. However, even if his request for a modification is approved, he will still owe any past due support.

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Alabama Child Support Arrears Laws

References

Related articles

How Are Child Support Arrears Assessed?

Child support "arrears" are amounts that came due and, for whatever reason, weren't paid. They may consist of missed payments or come from payments awarded for a time period prior to the initial establishment of the obligation. They can also include sums for child-related expenses, such as doctor co-pays, medicine or school costs. Although child support laws vary from state to state, arrears tend to be dealt with in a similar manner across the board.

Child Support Laws in Tennessee

The state of Tennessee provides for child support payments in cases where couples with minor children are divorcing. State law and guidelines set the amount of support, as well as the enforcement mechanism for collecting past-due support payments, health insurance payments, and reimbursement of uncovered medical expenses.

Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support in Florida

Child support is a court-ordered payment paid by the noncustodial parent and designated to help the custodial parent with expenses of raising children. Each state has laws dictating how child support orders will be enforced if a noncustodial parent fails to make payments. Florida's procedures are especially designed to prevent failures in paying for child support before they occur.

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